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The Black Book of Communism

The Black Book of Communism

Crimes, Terror, Repression

Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Margolin

Edited by Mark Kramer
Translated by Jonathan Murphy

ISBN 9780674076082

Publication date: 10/15/1999

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Already famous throughout Europe, this international bestseller plumbs recently opened archives in the former Soviet bloc to reveal the actual, practical accomplishments of Communism around the world: terror, torture, famine, mass deportations, and massacres. Astonishing in the sheer detail it amasses, the book is the first comprehensive attempt to catalogue and analyze the crimes of Communism over seventy years.

"Revolutions, like trees, must be judged by their fruit," Ignazio Silone wrote, and this is the standard the authors apply to the Communist experience—in the China of "the Great Helmsman," Kim Il Sung's Korea, Vietnam under "Uncle Ho" and Cuba under Castro, Ethiopia under Mengistu, Angola under Neto, and Afghanistan under Najibullah. The authors, all distinguished scholars based in Europe, document Communist crimes against humanity, but also crimes against national and universal culture, from Stalin's destruction of hundreds of churches in Moscow to Ceausescu's leveling of the historic heart of Bucharest to the widescale devastation visited on Chinese culture by Mao's Red Guards.

As the death toll mounts—as many as 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on—the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression. An extraordinary accounting, this book amply documents the unparalleled position and significance of Communism in the hierarchy of violence that is the history of the twentieth century.

Praise

  • An 800-page compendium of the crimes of Communist regimes worldwide, recorded and analyzed in ghastly detail by a team of scholars. The facts and figures, some of them well known, others newly confirmed in hitherto inaccessible archives, are irrefutable. The myth of the well-intentioned founders--the good czar Lenin betrayed by his evil heirs--has been laid to rest for good. No one will any longer be able to claim ignorance or uncertainty about the criminal nature of Communism, and those who had begun to forget will be forced to remember anew.

    —Tony Judt, New York Times

Authors

  • Stéphane Courtois is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, and editor of the journal Communisme.
  • Nicolas Werth is a researcher at the Institute for Contemporary History.
  • Jean-Louis Panné collaborated on the Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier français.
  • Andrzej Paczkowski is Deputy Director and a professor at the Institute for Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
  • Karel Bartošek is acting head of research at CNRS and the editor of the journal La nouvelle alternative.
  • Jean-Louis Margolin is a lecturer in history and coordinator of lectures at the University of Provence and a researcher at the Research Institute on Southeast Asia of CNRS.

Book Details

  • 912 pages
  • 2 x 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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